Native to southern Europe, fennel is used in cooking and baking. It is eaten both raw and cooked in many cuisines, mainly Italian. Fennel is grown for its leaves, stems, flowers, and seed. The common fennel is grown as a herb, but its close relative Florence fennel has white bulk and is a variety of common fennel. The common fennels feathery leaves and seeds are used in salads and have a licorice-like flavour. In this article, we will share how to grow fennel the nutrients and health benefits that can be gained from eating fennel.
How To Grow Fennel
Sow outdoors from mid-spring to mid-summer. Grow fennel in container/pots, or trenches in full sun. Sow 0.5-1cm deep in individual containers/pots, and 10 inches apart if growing in trenches. The seed will germinate in 1-2 weeks, to improve germination, try soaking and pre-sprouting the seed for a couple of days. Fennel will grow in all types of soil, but preferably well-drained soil with organic matter such as compost and manure.
Water fennel regularly especially in dry spells. When roots start to come out of the drainage holes at the bottom, transplant the fennel into a bigger container/pot. Alternatively, dig a small trench, transplant your fennel, and cover the rest with manure or compost. Fertiliser is optional, but if you want the best results, feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser.
Nutrients And Health Benefits
Fennel has many beneficial nutrients including vitamin C, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. In addition, fennel contains powerful plant compounds, they man suppress appetite, can benefit heart health, may have cancer-fighting properties, may benefit breastfeeding women. They also have other potential benefits such as containing antibacterial properties, may reduce inflammation, may benefit mental health, and may relieve menopausal symptoms.
Fennel is easy to add to your diet, here we will give you some simple, tasty ideas. Add thinly sliced fennel to salads, roasted meat, pastas, rice dishes, sandwiches, rolls, and wraps. Try using fennel leaves as a garnish for soups, meats, and mash potatoes. Crush fennel seeds and add them into smoothies, cakes, breads, and other baked goods, and make fennel teas.